Smart ICT for Weather and Water information and advice to Smallholders in Africa

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1 Smart ICT for Weather and Water information and advice to Smallholders in Africa Gijs Simons, eleaf Competence Center July 3, 2013

2 eleaf and the Smart ICT Project Funded by IFAD ( ), executed by IWMI, eleaf, DLV Plant and local partners Field-specific information on crop and water conditions and irrigation advice through Smart ICT channels to smallholders in pilot areas in Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan (see eleaf: Supplying reliable quantitative data on water and vegetation to support sustainable water use, increase food production and protect environmental systems Role in Smart ICT project: Development and Implementation of Smart ICT services for providing relevant information in a timely manner to the end users. - Tool development - Satellite image acquisition - Information package development - Developing and managing operational Smart ICT services for data delivery - Capacity building of end users This presentation: approach, early results and early lessons

3 Approach Based on country-specific User Needs Assessments and inputs from the local partners Main themes (UNA): crop growth, irrigation advice, agricultural water management, river flow / flood information (Sudan), weather information (Mali) General preferred method for receiving information by smallholder farmers: cell phone (SMS) % of internet coverage is very low -> however, internet provides great potential for disseminating spatial quantitative information to extensionists / agricultural departments / WUA: train the trainers Approach: combined web and SMS Smart ICT services, delivering field-specific information with weekly updates

4 In situ data collection Smart ICT operational process Dissemination Block delineation by farmers Meteo data Calibration and validation Data processing (NL) Basis EO data processing Internet Website with map server & Irrigation forecast tool Crop water consumption Meteorological data processing Irrigation forecasts Sophisticated data processing SMS Gateway SMS to farmers cell phone Earth observation data FengYun DMC MODIS MSG

5 Data production (Sudan example) Gash Delta: Spate Irrigation ET, Biomass Production and related parameters are calculated spatially discrete for all three project areas, based on highresolution 20m DMC images Rather than providing general statements on crop growth, detailed field-specific information is disseminated through internet and SMS 2013 season: pilot Flood Early Warning System Raw DMC satellite data for (L), and derived daily evapotranspiration (M) and biomass production (R).

6 Smart ICT: FieldLook web portal MyFields overview page of displaying biomass production for March 21 March 27, 2013 of maize farmer Ibrahem Abdel- Halim Hasanen - Based on the eleaf FieldLook platform which has operational versions in multiple countries - Example screenshot: biomass production: spatial biomass production is non-uniform - Could be: difference in soil type, malfunction in irrigation system, different crop variety, diseases, etc. etc. - Agricultural extensionist can contact farmer based on anomalies - (in Arabic) - (in Arabic) - (in Oromiffaa)

7 Smart ICT: SMS service 1. Fieldlook information - spatial data converted to text-based SMS - both qualitative and quantitative info - both on-demand and weekly push 2. Irrigation advice on demand - updated daily based on Irrigation Planner 3. Farmer inputs on irrigation amounts for running the Irrigation Planner - full, medium, low Features of the SMS services are modified to match local conditions: desired information, farmer SMS skills, local language, etc., and consistently altered according to user feedback Performance biomass growth since start season for Wheat: similar to average of all Wheat fields. Advice 12/03/2013 potatos: Irrigate in 3 or 4 days.

8 Farmer free Text message: From: <Mob. number> IrriLook <Fieldname> -i 25 To. From: FieldLook Please register To <Mob. number> Irrigation Server Check: <Mob. number> in Database? On demand SMS information + Date Provision to system - Real-time Tool calculation Check: <Fieldname> in Database? Option F Extract: Fieldname(s) from user from database Update system Run real-time calculation free free From: Fieldlook We have the following fields registered To <Mob. number> From: FieldLook <Fieldname> Please try again later To <Mob. number> Determine: data/advice from calculation results From: Fieldlook <Fieldname> data/advice To <Mob. number>

9 Early results 180 pilot smallholder farmers are intensively monitored and supported Website: Farmers are subscribed through centralized accounts managed by local agents used as addition to regular extension services SMS: best way to reach smallholders directly. Messages are well received and understood, and % of correct requests has increased during the season. Ethiopian smallholder farmers are most enthusiastic about irrigation advice messages. Fieldlook SMS updates (biomass, WUE) are regarded as more difficult to translate into actions, and are mainly used as cause for extra field inspections Other users: research institutes, government agencies, commercial agrifirms early results indicate large potential for water saving in irrigated agriculture (Egyptian desert) Project is still operational in Egypt and Sudan, evaluation in Ethiopia is currently ongoing. Preliminary results indicate benefits in production, thus income, of involved pilot farmers

10 General suggestions for G4AW projects Een goed begrip van lokale randvoorwaarden en veldcondities is essentieel -> een voorbeeld is het verstrekken van irrigatieadvies in een gebied waar een strikt water rotatieschema wordt gehanteerd (Ethiopie) Een actieve lokale partner tijdens de pilot die de boeren intensief begeleidt en contact met de NL partij onderhoudt is essentieel voor de lokale uptake van het systeem, terugkoppeling van user feedback en daarop gebaseerde constante verbetering van het systeem Implementatie gedurende meerdere seizoenen is noodzakelijk voor het kweken van begrip van de technologie, het vertalen van de informatie naar acties, en het opbouwen van vertrouwen Om het project uiteindelijk op eigen benen te kunnen laten staan is de koppeling met regionale overheden, agribusiness, of andere stakeholders onvermijdelijk

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